"We broke the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) siege of Mount Sinjar. We helped innocent people reach safety and we helped save many innocent lives. Because of these efforts we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain and it’s unlikely that we are going to need to continue humanitarian airdrops on the mountain."
Yazidi leaders and emergency relief officials on Thursday strongly disputed American claims that the siege of Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq had been broken and that the crisis was effectively over, saying that tens of thousands of Yazidis remained on the mountain in desperate conditions.
Speaking from her hospital bed here, Vian Dakhil, an Iraqi member of Parliament and a Yazidi leader who was injured in the crash of a helicopter delivering aid to the mountain on Tuesday, said she was aware of the American claims and had discussed them with Yazidi leaders still in the area.
“It’s not true,” she said.
“It’s better now than it had been, but it’s just not true that all of them are safe — they are not,” Ms. Dakhil said. “Especially on the south side of the mountain, the situation is very terrible. There are still people who are not getting any aid.”
She estimated the number of Yazidis trapped on the southern flanks of Mount Sinjar at 70,000 to 80,000.
Ms. Dakhil’s assessment of the seriousness of the Yazidis’ plight was supported by United Nations humanitarian officials, who on Thursday were unequivocal that there remained a major crisis among the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar.
“The crisis on Mount Sinjar is by no means over,” said David Swanson, the spokesman for the United Nations coordinator of humanitarian affairs in northern Iraq, interviewed by telephone from Dohuk, in northern Iraq. “Although many people managed to escape from the north side, there are still thousands of others up there, under conditions of extreme heat, dehydration and imminent threat of attack. The situation is far from solved.”
Ms. Dakhil, who said she was in touch with Yazidis in the Mount Sinjar area, suggested that the American military team must have visited the northern side of the mountain, the only area that can be reached by helicopters easily, whereas the greatest problem lay to the south, closer to positions held by ISIS militants and therefore dangerous to travel to by helicopter.
Given this administration's history, who do you believe?
UPDATE: This news in late today:
Islamic militants killed 90 members of Iraq's Yazidi minority in a northern village, sources told Fox News on Friday.
The Kurdish-speaking ethnic and religious group, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands in Iraq, has been persecuted in the north by Islamic State militants, with at least 500 killed prior to Friday's news, according to Iraq's human rights minister.
Shortly after receiving reports of civilians being attacked, U.S. forces conducted airstrikes on Islamic State vehicles near Sinjar, according to a statement released by Central Command Friday.
The latest killings came just a day after President Obama said U.S. air strikes and humanitarian aid drops on Sinjar mountain, where thousands of Yazidi have been stranded in an Islamic State siege had been ended.
"[Militants] arrived in vehicles and they started their killing this afternoon,'' senior Kurdish official Hoshiyar Zebari told Reuters. "We believe it's because of their creed: convert or be killed."
A Yazidi lawmaker and another senior Kurdish official also said the killings had taken place and that the women of the village were kidnapped.
Anyone expect the media to follow up with Obama?